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Re: Linguistic and Biological Systematics



On Mon, 4 Jun 2001 Dinogeorge@aol.com wrote:

> In a message dated 6/4/01 11:11:02 AM EST, tmk@dinosauricon.com writes:
>
> << Not really; a language is more comparable to a species, and a language
>  family comparable to a clade. Romance still exists, but Latin doesn't
>  (except in academia and religion), just as _Dinosauria_ still exists, but
>  the ancestral dinosaur species doesn't. >>
>
> I'll buy this as soon as someone will explain how to tell when one species
> has changed/is changing into another (descendant) species. To rephrase
> cladistically, would Latin cease to exist once another language has branched
> off from it? Does ancient Greek no longer exist, or is it after all the same
> species as modern Greek?

Unfortunately, "language" and "species" also correlate in the number and
frequent vagueness of their definitions and usages. But language families
(and subfamilies, etc.) do correspond pretty well to clades. It's kind of
interesting that language classification has always been cladistic.

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